Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Victoria Spivey/Roosevelt Sykes: Grind It!

Blues queen Victoria Spivey shares the billing with legendary piano man Roosevelt Sykes on Grind It! (Total Energy NER 3025; 43:18). Culled from the personal archives of John Sinclair, this document from the 1973 Ann Arbor Blues & Jazz Festival radiates with glory from a golden bygone era. Ms. Spivey, backed by the Brooklyn Blues Busters, emerged from years of obscurity on this early September evening (decked out in her trademark snake dress) to deliver risque blues ditties like “You’re a Rank Stud,” “I’m Tired,” “Organ Grinder Blues” and her 1926 hit “Black Snake Blues.” The Honey Dripper weighs in with a raucous “Run This Boogie,” a brilliant reading of his “Night Time Is the Right Time,” a dramatic re-telling of “St. James Infirmary,” a riotous “Dirty Mother for You” and his own classic blues “Driving Wheel,” which he first recorded for Decca back in 1936. The Sykes half of the program is the real treat here.

Originally Published